The Argument via Rationality

Arvind Sharma

in Are Human Rights Western?

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195679489
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081714 | DOI:
The Argument via Rationality

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This chapter examines the rationality-based argument for the claim that human rights are Western. Human rights may be considered Western in the sense that they involve the rationality of intuitions; that this rationality has to be consensual in nature and that such consensus has been achieved around human rights only in the West. (See chapter for detailed clarification.) The problem with developing a rationality based on moral intuitions is that as these institutions may vary from person to person, such an approach always runs the risk of being subjective and in the extreme case, solipsistic. However, if these intuitions could be brought in relationship to rationality, which is considered more firm and consistent compared to intuitions, then these moral sentiments can evolve into a morality. Inasmuch as such interpersonal ‘moral’ rationality has been achieved by human rights discourse in the West, human rights could be said to be Western. This chapter brings into discussion Enlightenment, Reason, and Rationality in course of the argument.

Keywords: human rights; rationality; Western idea; moral intuitions; morality

Chapter.  3837 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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